Research Highlight

Nanoparticles deliver anticancer drug

doi:10.1038/nindia.2015.59 Published online 8 May 2015

Researchers have synthesized biocompatible nanoparticles that are a copper analogue of Prussian blue nanoparticles. These nanoparticles can ferry the anticancer drug doxorubicin to tumour sites and then slowly release it1

The doxorubicin-loaded nanoparticles stifled the growth of various cancer cells more efficiently than free doxorubicin, making them promising drug-delivery vehicles for enhancing the effectiveness of current anticancer drugs.

The researchers synthesized the nanoparticles by stirring a mixture of potassium ferricyanide and copper sulphate at room temperature for 45 minutes. They then encapsulate the nanoparticles with doxorubicin and probed the stability and drug-delivering potential of the nanoconjugate.

The scientists observed that the nanoparticles were stable for over 2 weeks when stored in solutions that mimic physiological environments. They also found that the nanoconjugate slowly released the anticancer drug throughout the first day. After 2 days, the drug release began to increase and this trend continued for 5 more days.

The researchers found that doxorubicin released from the nanoconjugate significantly inhibited the growth of skin, breast and ovarian cancer cells. In addition, they detected that the nanoparticles could deliver doxorubicin to a cell’s nucleus without using a nuclear targeting agent.

In the future, the nanoparticles may be useful for cellular trafficking and biosensing, say the researchers.


1. Mukherjee, S. et al. Copper Prussian blue analogue: investigation into multifunctional activities for biomedical applications. Chem. Commun. 51, 7325–7328 (2015)